You are most likely unfamiliar with Mark Renner’s music, but Mark Renner’s music will feel familiar for so many reasons. We weren’t familiar with Mark either until coming across a still sealed copy of All Walks of This Life, his self-released first album from 1986, at a record dealer’s table at a Philadelphia flea market. The homespun aesthetic of the artwork and the few hints on the back cover of what the music might sound like were enough to take a chance for a small sum.
And like so many other stories of discovery from dusty bins, the music of All Walks of This Life was revelatory in its unfound form. Profoundly relatable and resonant, musical and original even if the sounds, scapes, and shapes appeared similar from other listening instances. Digging deeper into Renner’s DIY aesthetic (not too dissimilar from K. Leimer’s approach with his Palace of Lights imprint), it was clear that a collection of Mark’s work would make a fitting addition to our ongoing archival series.
To honor Renner’s formative long-distance tutorship with Skids’ member Stuart Adamson (more on that here), director Elspeth Parsons paired the first offering from Few Traces, “Half A Heart,” with pastoral visuals captured near Tweedsmuir in the hills of the Scottish Borders.
Few Traces will be released February 16, 2018 on double LP, CD, and digital formats – pre-order at the shop. director Maia Stern filmed a documentary on Mark and Few Traces, to be released early next year – watch the trailer below:
“My conversation with Sugai Ken about his experience creating ‘Doujiri’ links back to his travels to Kyoto. First-person shots allow us to relive Ken’s journey through Kyoto’s mystical bamboo forest. Ken wanted to visualize specific Japanese folk arts with this video, all of which have been used for centuries. Each object presented in the video has a special meaning as a ceremonial object or ritual offering.” – Kiyotaka Sumiyoshi
experience kiyo’s forest ritual for sugai ken’s “Doujiri” below: